Over 1800 children and parents benefit from the MHPSS program

Over 1800 children and parents benefit from the MHPSS program


DILI, 4 October 2022 (TATOLI)- More than 1800 children and parents benefit from the community-Based Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the Government Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion (MSSI).

The MHPSS has been implemented through the Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) to prevent and address domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect against children and families. 

A statement seen by Tatoli stated that the CFS was initially implemented once the flood had receded in Timor-Leste and the families with their children began slowly to move back to their homes as the country was hit by a massive flood in april 2021 when the country was also in the middle of a covid-19 pandemic. 

In a statement Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani, UNICEF Representative explained the objective of the CFS is to provide psycho-social support for children and their parents who were affected by the floods or are living in vulnerable settings, with access to structured play, recreation, and leisure, in a way that strengthened their resilience and existing protective factors.

“Although the Community based MHPSS were mainly designed for children, the intervention also includes sessions for parents to better understand their children’s emotional needs and increase their ability to talk about challenges, change gender norms and seek help,” said Durani. 

For such reason on July 2021 with the support of the Spotlight Initiative, UNICEF collaborated with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion (MSSI), and Non-Governmental Organization(NGO) Ba Futuru implemented this program to ensure that children still receive necessary support and protection from domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect.

“To date, Community-based MHPSS activities are held in 16 child-friendly spaces, 61 trained volunteers provide support to more than 1800 children and their parents,” said. 

Prior to the implementation of the activities, the volunteers had to undergo intensive training in Psychological First Aid and facilitation methods. They were equipped with knowledge and skills to provide MHPSS to the children and to facilitate the parenting session during the CFS implementation. 

The result and impacts of the MHPSS were presented on september 30, 2022 through the Positive Impact Workshop hosted by UNICEF, MSSI, and NGO ba Futuru in the John Paul II conference center. 

In this workshop, UNICEF and its partners are launching Child-Friendly Spaces Booklet. The CFS Booklet contains information about the CFS, stories from some children, parents, and volunteers, and fun photos from the activities, including drawings from the children who were excited to share their art with everyone here. 

“We hope that those who read it can also learn more about the activities that children and volunteers usually do at the CFS and identify the need to scale up this kind of community-based intervention, that has an impact on the life of children and prevents violence, abuse, and exploitation”, said Durrani. 

The workshop was attended by 61 CFS volunteers, community leaders where the CFS is located, along with entities from MSSI, civil society organizations, and development partners, including European Union and UNICEF. 

The Community-based MHPSS is supported through Spotlight Initiative, a partnership between United Nations and European Union, to eliminate violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste, and around the world.

Journalist: Camilo de Sousa

Editor: Nelia B.


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